Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced NY Open for Fishing and Hunting, a plan to streamline hunting and fishing licenses and reduce license fees to support tourism opportunities and benefit sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the state. The proposal is part of the 30-day amendments to the 2013-14 Executive Budget and would reduce fees paid by hundreds of thousands of hunters, anglers and trappers while maintaining support for the state's fish and wildlife programs.
The proposal simplifies the current license structure to foster recruitment and retention of resident and non-resident hunters, anglers and trappers. The State would greatly reduce the number of licenses offered and lower many fees for both resident and non-resident holders under the proposal. The proposal also will make permanent a free marine fishing registration, which was scheduled to expire at the end of 2013.
"I know the recreational and economic value hunting and fishing bring to New York State," Governor Cuomo said. "The sporting community bolsters tourism across the state. According to a national survey, more than $8.1 billion of economic activity is created as a result of sporting activity in New York. Under my proposal, it will be easier for more New Yorkers and visitors from across the country to take advantage of New York's rich sporting tradition."
The current license process is confusing due to the number, type and potential combinations of hunting and fishing licenses. In addition, fees are presently higher in New York than in many neighboring and comparable states. The proposal would:
Reduce by 11 the number of licenses available while maintaining all current hunting and fishing privileges and opportunities
Reduce the price of a hunting license by 24 percent from $29 to $22
Reduce the price of a fishing license by nearly 14 percent from $29 to $25
Make fishing licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase
Create a non-resident license structure which is the same as the resident license structure
Fold trapping privileges into the hunting license for no additional fee for certified trappers
Maintain Junior Trapper and Trapper Mentor opportunities
Reduce fees for non-resident hunting and fishing licenses to attract more out-of-state participants
Retain discounted licenses for youth, seniors, military disabled and Native Americans.
License Current Proposed
Annual Fishing License $29 $25
Annual Hunting License $29 $22
Annual Bow Hunting Privilege $21 $20
Annual Muzzleloading $21 $11
Annual Fishing License $70 $50
Annual Hunting License $140 $100
Annual Bow Hunting Privilege $140 $40
Annual Muzzleloading $140 $30
Annual Turkey $50 $20
One-day Fishing $15 $10
Previously, a fishing license was only valid from the date of purchase through the end of the season, and anglers who bought a license in mid season did not get a full year's worth of use. Under the new plan, anglers will get a full year of fishing no matter when they purchase the license. Also, the proposal consolidates both small-game and big-game license privileges into a single hunting license. In addition, the proposal creates a non-resident license structure which affords the same license privileges as resident licenses.
The proposal also makes the marine fishing registration permanent. It was scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2013, which would have required anglers fishing in the marine district to purchase a license for $10. Under Governor Cuomo's bill, marine fishing will continue to be free.
New York State Department of Environment Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, "Hunters and anglers are the foundation of the state's conservation community, concerned about caring for the state's habitats, forestland and waterways. Governor Cuomo's proposal will make it simpler for people to purchase licenses, help attract newcomers to hunt and fish in New York and ensure that the programs that the hunting and fishing communities enjoy continue to be funded."
In addition, DEC has made substantial progress in both the rehabilitation of existing boat launch facilities and construction of new facilities. By the start of the 2013 boating season, five new boat launching facilities will be open: Chaumont Bay and Point Peninsula Isthmus on Lake Ontario, Upper Hudson River in Fort Edward, Lake Champlain in the City of Plattsburgh, and Cuba Lake Boat Launch in Allegany County. Work is underway for a boat launch on Round Lake in Saratoga County.
Significant boat launch rehabilitation efforts include: the complete upgrade of the "Crusher" Boat Launch of the Raquette River and lengthening of the Horicon launch ramp on Schroon Lake. Plans are underway for expansion of the Second Pond boat launch on Lower Saranac Lake, repairs to the Peru Boat Launch site on Lake Champlain, reconstruction of the Northville launch ramp, and installation of a new boarding dock at the Saratoga County Boat Launch, both on Great Sacandaga Lake.
Governor Cuomo's proposal aims to improve New York's position as a destination for both resident and out-of-state hunters. According to a 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Related Recreation, over 90 million U.S. residents ages 16 years and older participated in some form of wildlife-related recreation in 2011. Wildlife recreationists spent about $145 billion on their ventures.
Moreover, New York State remains near the top in hunter and angler licenses, an estimated 1.88 million anglers and 823,000 hunters, indicating a mostly stable group of participants. The same study found in 2011 New York was second in the nation in total angler spending on fishing-related items and sixth in non-resident angler spending. This spending generated an estimated $108 million in state and local taxes.
In 2011, New York was fourth in the nation in spending by hunters and generated an estimated $290 million in state and local taxes. New York ranks third in the nation in total number of resident hunters.
While providing relief to sportsmen and sportswomen, this proposal will ensure that the Conservation Fund remains solvent through the financial plan (State Fiscal Year 2018-19). New York will continue to provide services, programs and projects to boost hunting and fishing opportunities. The State will also be working closely with the conservation community in the coming months to identify projects to enhance hunting and fishing access and improve wildlife habitat.
Jason Kemper, Chair, Conservation Fund Advisory Board, said, "The Conservation Fund Advisory Board is very pleased that the Governor has decided to simplify the sporting license structure and reduce some of the fees associated with these licenses. CFAB is confident that these actions will increase participation in hunting, fishing, and trapping in New York State which will continue to enhance the positive economic impact to the State of New York that these activities generate."
Lance Robson, Chair, New York State Fish & Wildlife Management Board, said, "The Board welcomes the simplification of the existing license structure and the reduction of the fees for most of the sporting public. This plan will make participating in hunting, fishing and trapping more affordable while continuing to provide the funds, now and going forward, to continue or even expand our current fish, wildlife and habitat management programs."
Chuck Parker, President, New York State Conservation Council, said, "From the feedback that I have received as President of the New York State Conservation Council, I would like to report that the Council is glad to see the proposal of a simpler license structure system as presented by DEC and the Governor's Office and endorsed by the Conservation Fund Advisory Board. With the simpler license fee system there should be an increase in numbers and participation of hunters, fishermen, and trappers while still yielding a very positive economic impact to the NYS Conservation Fund, which should lead to increase funding possibilities being proposed."
Ron Urban, President of Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, said, "The Governor's proposal is good for all anglers by reducing fees and making licenses simpler. Moreover, it increases recreational experiences on New York's waters. We have great natural resources in this state and this proposal will encourage people to get out and enjoy New York."
Tom Marks, Captain and Owner, Gr8 Lakes Fishing Adventures, said, "The Governor's proposal is great for tourism. It will help attract people to New York State. I view the state's fish and wildlife as a gold mine and this proposal will remove impediments to bringing tourists to New York."
David Turner, Director of Oswego County Office of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, said, "Oswego County and New York State are blessed with an abundance of natural resources that inspire visitors from around the world. Simplifying the licensing system and reducing the fees is sure to help make our visitors experiences here even more enjoyable. The annual fishing license date-of-purchase proposal is will likely help to increase angler activity throughout the state. We are pleased the Governor and the DEC are proposing to make it easier and less expensive for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy all that we have to offer."
Tony DiLernia, Captain Rocket Charters NY-delegate to MASFMC and Director of Maritime technology at Kingsborough Community College, said, "In announcing the proposal to make the free marine fishing registration permanent, Governor Cuomo is following through on his commitment that some things in life should be free, including fishing in the ocean. This is an example of government providing a service to New Yorkers without taxing for it."